Surti Sev Khamni is a snack from the state of Gujarat, more particularly from the Surat region. It is a unique dish, made with chana dal, extremely delicious and dearly beloved to the people of Gujarat.
In today’s blog post, let us see the Gujarati Sev Khamni recipe.
What exactly is Surti Sev Khamni?
The city of Surat in Gujarat is famous not just for diamonds and textiles, but also for its food. Surat boasts of a robust cuisine all its own, along with a vibrant street food scene. Vati Dal Na Khaman, Rassawala Khaman, Undhiyu, Locho, Ghari, Dabeli and Sev Khamni are some popular dishes.
Sev Khamni is made with chana dal, soaked and then cooked with lots of garlic, ginger and chillies, some jaggery for sweetness, and soured with lemon. The soft and crumbly chana dal is served topped with a generous dose of sev, fresh coriander and pomegranate pearls. Can you imagine the burst of flavours? It is a dish that is filling and hearty, not too difficult to put together, almost healthy barring the sev and jaggery.
I love food that explodes with flavours in my mouth, so it is no wonder that I adore Sev Khamni. I remember Dad getting home these small packets of Sev Khamni on his way home from work, growing up in Ahmedabad – they would cause such a commotion in the family, and rightly so! It would be garlicky, fiery, mildly sweet and tangy, and simply beautiful. I learnt from Gujarati friends of mine how to put together the dish, a skill that I have honed over the years.
Is Sev Khamni the same as Amiri Khaman?
Often, Sev Khamni and Amiri Khaman are believed to be the same – one is passed off as the other. However, living in Gujarat for long has taught me that that’s not the case. These are two different dishes!
Sev Khamni, as I was saying, is made with soaked chana dal that is ground and cooked to a crumbly texture along with a few other ingredients. That’s the way it is authentically, traditionally, cooked in Surat.
Amiri Khaman, on the other hand, is nothing but refurbished khaman – leftover khaman crumbled up and served with a variety of toppings. The khaman may be an instant version, made with gram flour (besan), or a mix of semolina (sooji) and besan, or Vati Dal Na Khaman that is made with a fermented chana dal batter.
Sev Khamni and Amiri Khaman can look and taste quite similar, but there are subtle differences in the texture, taste and technique of both the dishes. But, hey, both dishes are absolutely delectable!
Gujarati Sev Khamni recipe
Here’s how Surti Sev Khamni is made.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1. 1 cup of chana dal
2. A 1-inch piece of ginger
3. 2 green chillies
4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
5. 1 tablespoon oil
6. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
8. Salt to taste
9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
10. 1/2 cup of milk, boiled and cooled
11. 3 tablespoons of jaggery powder or to taste
12. 2 heaped tablespoons of finely chopped coriander
13. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
1. Fine sev, as required
2. Pomegranate arils, as required
3. Finely chopped coriander, as required
1. Wash the chana dal thoroughly under running water. Drain out all the water. Then, soak the chana dal in enough fresh water to cover it, for at least 3 hours.
2. When the chana dal is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer to a mixer jar. Grind coarsely, preferably without adding any water. If needed, add very little water for grinding. Keep aside.
3. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop the ginger and green chillies roughly. Transfer these to a small mixer jar.
4. Grind together the ingredients in the mixer jar to a paste, using very little water. Keep aside.
5. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida and let it stay in for 2 seconds.
6. Reduce the flame to low-medium, and add in the green chilli-ginger-garlic paste, followed by the coarsely ground chana dal. Mix well, and cook for a minute.
7. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on low-medium flame for 4-5 minutes.
8. At this stage, add the milk to the pan. Mix well. Continue to keep the flame at low-medium.
9. Cover the pan and cook on low-medium flame for 3-4 minutes. Uncover in between to stir and ensure that the mixture is not burning at the bottom.
10. At this stage, add in the jaggery powder and mix well. Cover and cook on low-medium flame for 2-3 minutes more or till the mixture attains a dry but soft and crumbly texture. Switch off gas.
11. Mix in the finely chopped coriander and lemon juice. Allow the mixture to cool down till it is barely warm, then the Surti Sev Khamni is ready to assemble.
12. To serve, crumble up the mixture gently and place some in serving bowls. Top with fine sev, finely chopped coriander and pomegranate arils as needed. Serve immediately.
Tips, tricks and variations
1. Sugar can be used in place of the jaggery powder I have used here. I prefer using jaggery powder. Adjust the sweetness as per personal taste preferences.
2. You may skip the garlic if you do not prefer it. Personally, though, I prefer it with loads of garlic – that’s the way I have grown up eating it.
3. You may top the Surti Sev Khamni with some finely chopped onions and grated coconut. I usually skip these.
4. You may use some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney to top the Surti Sev Khamni. I usually don’t.
5. Adjust the number of green chillies you use depending upon personal taste preferences. The same goes for lemon juice.
6. Do not skimp on the coriander, pomegranate and fine sev. These are the three main pillars of a good sev khamni and need to be used generously. Use the freshest of coriander and pomegranate for best results. Use only the fine variety of sev – the thick variety doesn’t suit well. I have used store-bought fine sev here.
7. The milk adds a nice texture and taste to the Surti Sev Khamni. However, if you don’t prefer using it or want a vegan version, use water instead.
8. Do not grind the chana dal to a fine paste. For best results, keep the mixture coarse. Do not add too much water while grinding.
9. Cook the mixture till you get a soft, crumbly texture. Most of the moisture should evaporate, but the mixture should feel soft and not too dry. This is the perfect texture that one should aim for.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!